Murdock leaves it late as Burren see off Mayobridge to reach Down championship semi-finals
Morgan Fuels Down Senior Football Championship: Burren 1-15 Mayobridge 2-14
From Andy Watters at Pairc Esler
MAYOBRIDGE struck late but Burren replied even later to win a quarter-final that could have gone either way at the death last night.
In an extraordinary finale, Aaron Magee's goal equalised for the 'Bridge with normal time up only for Odhran Murdock to hit the back of the Mayobridge net in injury-time and book Burren's place in the last four.
Delight for them, agony for Mayobridge whose manager Ciaran McKeever had seen his native Cullyhanna bow out in Armagh on Saturday. Last night was another case of what-might-have-been.
“We kicked six into the 'keeper's hands and then, when we got level, we gave the ball away and they hit us with a suckerpunch and the game was dead at the point,” he said.
Burren led by 0-9 to 0- at the break and deserved their win according to manager Jim McCorry.
“We know Mayobridge are never going to lie down, it's always going to be tough and we had said it could be a one-point game,” he said.
“Mayobridge will be disappointed after they got the goal and got back into it but we went forward again, as we tried to the whole game, and overall we were the better side and deserved to win.”
McCorry's side got off to an excellent start when injury-time hero Murdock grabbed the throw-in and got his head up to pick out to Kevin McKernan, stationed at full-forward, who scooped the ball to Cathal Foy. A goal was on but Foy took his point.
Mayobridge levelled through Corey Quinn and the game settled with both teams going man-to-man for kick-outs and then packing their defences.
Burren's running game – with Liam Kerr outstanding - looked tailormade for their assignment. Ronan McGrath edged them ahead, Danny Magill slotted over another and then McKernan, up front on his own, added a mark to make it 4-1 but Quinn's excellent free reduced the deficit to two at the first water break.
When the action resumed after the tiresome interruption, Conleth O'Hare took an Adam Crimmins pass and smashed a point but it was quickly cancelled out by Kerr, whose pacey running from deep was causing headaches for the Mayobridge defence.
Steven Fegan and Kerr again made it 7-3 and when Quinn hit the Burren woodwork for the second time in the game you began to get the impression that it wasn't going to be Mayobridge's night.
Wides from Shane McNamee and Kevin McClorey and a scuffed shot straight at Cillian Burns summed up a below par half for the 'Bridge and a third point from the excellent Kerr left Burren 0-9 to 0-3 up at the break and in control.
Quinn pulled one back in the early stages of the second half but O'Hare restored the Burren lead before Crimmins and Quinn replied for Mayobridge who were building a head of steam. Then Paul Lively, just on for Conall Poland, kicked over the bar with the goal at his mercy to make it 10-7.
Wides from Crimmins and Gallagher followed though but McKernan and O'Hare both missed chances to settled Burren's nerves.
However, Kerr hit the target with his fourth of the game and Burren regrouped at the second water break leading 0-11 to 0-7.
Mayobridge grabbed the game by the scruff when the action resumed. Gallagher played in Lively, living up to his name, and he bravely grabbed the ball before Ryan Magill took him out with a crude tackle. Quinn smashed the penalty into the net and suddenly there was just a point in it.
It was the kick in the backside Burren needed and Kerr and O'Hare (0-2) hit back but Charlie Smyth's free kept Mayobridge hopes alive and, in the last minute, Magee whipped a superb finish past Cillian Burns to level it.
But Burren would not be denied and Danny Magill passed to Murdock who picked his spot past Smyth to send McCorry's men into the semi-finals.
Burren: C Burns; P McCarthy, S Fegan (0-1), R Magill; C McGovern, G McGovern, P Fegan; M McKay, K McKernan (0-2, 0-1 mark); R McGrath (0-1 free), O Murdock (1-0), S McArdle; D Magill (0-1), L Kerr (0-6, 0-1 free), C Foy (0-1)
Subs: D O'Hare (0-1) for S McArdle (16), D McEntee for C McGovern (50), P Poland for McKernan (56)
Mayobridge: C Smyth (0-1 free); C Fitzpatrick, S McNamee, K Lynchehaun; C Gallagher, K McClorey, C Linden; CJ Barr, S Annett; C Poland, C O'Hare (0-1), R Brady; A Crimmins (0-1), C Quinn (1-4, 1-0 pen, 0-3 frees, C Gallagher
Subs: P Lively (0-1) for C Poland (38), A Magee (1-0) for C O'Hare (45), L McManus for C Gallagher (46)